At Home with the Harlands Christmas 2006

Another year has come and almost gone, and as usual it seems to go faster than ever. There were no major changes for us this year, but there were a few milestones along the way nonetheless. One of the highlights for us was attending with Linda's parents the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in March. This was out first look at the newly renovated MCG, and it was amazing. We happened to be sitting in the MCC members stand, which made it more comfortable than most. We also attended some of the cycling, swimming and athletic events, but the opening was the clear highlight. Later in the year, we went to the Gold Coast for a holiday. Rather than do things simply, we travelled there from Melbourne by train! This meant turning up at the station in Melbourne on a cold winter’s night, and getting a train overnight to Sydney. We spent a day looking around there, including the aquarium and Darling Harbour, before getting another overnight train to Brisbane, a further train to the Gold Coast and then a bus to the place we were staying. Having done all that, it then rained solidly for the next 4 days. The kids got to know the inside of the spa very well in that time! After that the weather improved, and we enjoyed the delights of the theme parks and the traditional pastime of sitting around the pool. The kids were very glad to hear that the journey home was to be via plane … Later still, we finally got around to renovating the bathroom. When we moved in around 12 years ago, it was the best and most recently renovated room in the house. The main problem for us was that there are only about several gazillion different combinations of wall tiles, floor tiles, colours, fittings, and so forth, and to try to choose from amongst the varieties on display was a highly frustrating task. Eventually we settled on some particular choices, and looking back now that it is done, it was well worth the effort.

Jeremy has had an excellent year in Pre-Prep. He always has a big smile on his face when he greets his classmates, and has managed to focus some of his energy on classroom tasks. He still loves his books, and is often found in the book corner, reading through a book for himself after it has been read to the class. He loves show-and-tell days and insists that it should be show rather than tell. He still loves riding his bike and has considerably improved his stamina for riding. Braking remains an area which would repay further study, though…

Emily has thoroughly enjoyed her year in Grade 1. She has charged through readers and the like, and was often scuttling across to the Grade 2 rooms to get readers. She also gets considerable practice at running across the courtyard playing tiggy before school! She has spent some time dancing and some in karate, but probably got her biggest thrill in the Haileybury Tattoo, which is a large concert that the school puts on every two years. Singing and dancing in a large group in a big hall seems to be something at which she is a natural.

Timothy has just completed Grade 3. He had a change of teacher in the middle of the year (the second time that this has happened to him), but he seemed to take that in his stride. He had a lot of fun at the School camp and also camping with his aunt and uncle at Easter time early in the year. He has grown considerably this year, much to the disappointment of his older brother, and is developing a wicked sense of humour. He continued to play soccer with the same team as the past couple of years, and has been honing his downball skills with intense practice sessions immediately before the start of school!

Joshua has just completed Year 8, and obtained a Distinction at the end of the year. He continues to enjoy Japanese and French (grudgingly), and has improved his ability to complete homework tasks independently. He also never seems to be able to get away with complaining that his Maths homework is too hard! The academic program for next year includes some travelling to various parts of Australia, so he is quite looking forward to a change of environment. He is still keen on basketball, and has continued to maintain contact with some old primary school friends this way.

Linda has had very busy year at work. Being partly responsible for timetables at a time when a whole new girls section of the school commences has been quite a challenge. It didn’t help that the senior classes (years 10, 11 and 12) now commence their new academic year in October (once the Year 12 students have left to do their final exams), which meant that a lot of planning tasks had to be done earlier. Somehow she also found time to take on the role of Head of Girls Tennis with a key part of this to be the coach of the First Team. She also managed a few trips to Geelong for professional development.

James had another year of focusing on off-shore management and research (and Linda says his passport has been way too active!). He has been to Japan, Vietnam (twice), Malaysia (twice) and India, making it seem like a deliberate tour of several parts of Asia. The trip to India was aimed at marketing RMIT courses in Bangalore, but it felt like he was stuck in traffic for at least half the time. He also got a new bike, after breaking the frame on the old one a month after the 10-year guarantee expired.

With best wishes from all of us for a refreshing Christmas and a prosperous New Year,

James, Linda, Joshua, Timothy, Emily & Jeremy Harland